Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer Joe Stephens
Call an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney in Houston Texas
Losing a loved one or family member is always devastating, but the situation can be made even more tragic when that loss is due to a preventable accident or the negligence of another. If someone you loved was killed due to the negligent or reckless actions of a 3rd party, you may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation. Attorney Joe Stephens is an experienced Houston wrongful death attorney with a 35+ year track record of helping those who have lost a loved one, seek the compensation they deserve.
As a double board certified personal injury attorney, Joe knows how to litigate wrongful death cases in trial court and is especially skilled in presenting such cases to the jury. His skills in the courtroom have led to many successful verdicts and settlements and verdicts for wrongful death clients. Some of his most famous wrongful death victories include the Clara Harris murder trial and a 10.7 million verdict against a rogue pill mill in Houston that led to an overdose death. Unfortunately the rogue doctor had no assets to pay, but the family of the victim was grateful that Joe Stephens stood up against the rogue doctor on their behalf.
Hire a Houston Wrongful Death Attorney With Decades of Experience
From his main offices in Houston Texas, Joe Stephens has represented and counseled hundreds of people who have suffered through the loss of a family member. He knows that no amount of money will ever replace your child, husband, or wife, nor will it make the pain go away. But if your loved one was wrongfully and negligently killed due to the irresponsible act of another, then IT IS reasonable and proper to seek remedy under the law.
And while nothing will ever fill the void of loved one gone too soon, the law allows for a civil case to be brought against the negligent party and for the payment of a "fair and reasonable amount of money" that should equal "fair and reasonable Justice" in the case.
If you believe you have a wrongful death suit, call now or use the form on this page to request your free case evaluation today!
You Are Entitled to Seek Justice on Your Loved One's Behalf
A Houston injury and accident lawyer can bring a wrongful death claim against a responsible party on behalf of immediate family members such as children or a surviving spouse. Even if the party at fault is being prosecuted criminally, such as in the case of a murder or manslaughter trial, a civil lawsuit may be filed to cover the wrongful death claim.
It isn't about the money - it's about closure and holding guilty parties responsible.
Wrongful death claims attempt to compensate family members for death-related expenses (medical, funeral, etc.), economic losses (wages, inheritance), and emotional distress (metal anguish) resulting from a family member being wrongfully killer. Punitive damages may also be awarded in cases involving gross negligence or intentional acts as additional punishment.
You need to act fast and call a wrongful death lawyer in Houston TX as soon as possible. In Texas, a deadline known as "the statute of limitations" requires that a wrongful death claim be filed within two years from the date someone was killed. After a free consultation, it will take even the best wrongful death lawyers a few weeks to investigate and file your wrongful death claim.
What Qualifies As a Wrongful Death Claim?
The death of a loved one is devastating for those left behind. It can be excruciating when another's negligent or intentional act caused their death. For this reason, there are laws to provide a civil avenue for individuals suffering the loss of a loved one in these situations.
When dealing with wrongful death claims, one should keep in mind that every state has varying statutes on these claims.
For a fatality to be considered a wrongful death, the cause must have resulted from another's negligent or reckless behavior. An array of incidents can fall into this category, including:
- Vehicle accidents caused by reckless driving, such as drunk driving or texting, led to the fatality.
- Lack of training, adequate supervision, or proper maintenance led to death in the workplace.
- Criminal activities such as assault and attacks resulted in the death of another.
- Malpractice by a doctor who failed to identify or adequately treat an ailment.
- Drowning that is caused by lack of maintenance or other negligence by another person.
- Defective products that resulted in the death of the user.
- Dangerous products or drugs that kill.
What Damages Can a Texas Wrongful Death Law Firm Pursue?
A Texas wrongful death law firm can pursue damages for clients in several ways. Texas law allows two different actions when somebody is wrongfully killed: (1) a wrongful death action, and (2) a survival action. There are significant differences between the two actions with regard to who can recover damages and what damages are available.
A wrongful death claim can be brought by family members for their personal loss due to a loved one's death; whether is was an accident or intentional. The law allows you to recover compensation for the financial losses that you have sustained, as well as a reasonable amount of money to compensate you for the overwhelming grief, torment, and suffering that you are now experiencing, and will experience for the balance of your life. The money replaces your financial losses for lost income and benefits.
Money also allows you, and your family, to use the money in very meaningful ways. Some folks put the money in charities and foundations, and others use it in a manner that your loved one would want you to. It may provide you the means to bring some small measure of joy in your life to replace the hole in your heart.
Wrongful Death Compensation Available in Texas May Include:
- Pecuniary losses – These losses cover anything that the deceased would have provided for family members such as care, maintenance, household services, advice, and any other probable contribution that the family members would have received.
- Loss of earnings - any money that the deceased would have earned and provided as support to family members.
- Loss of inheritance – Covers the current value of any assets the deceased would have passed to family members through their estate.
- Loss of companionship and society – Covers the loss of love, comfort, and companionship that would have been provided by the deceased.
- Mental anguish – Compensation for the emotional pain and suffering that family members go through as a result of a tragic death.
What is a Survival Claim or Survival Action?
A survival claim in Texas is based on the damages that the deceased COULD have recovered if they had lived. It is similar to a personal injury claim but filed on behalf of the estate through a legally valid party. The estate distributes any damages received to the heirs.
Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death In Texas?
Spouses, Children, and parents of the deceased all have the legal right to file a wrongful death suit on behalf of a loved one in the state of Texas. A representative of the estate usually brings these cases on behalf of the family seeking monetary damages for their losses.
Can Other Relatives File Wrongful Death Claims?
The Texas wrongful death statute gives primary rights to file a wrongful death claim to immediate family that are considered the primary dependents. If a primary is pursuing a wrongful death action than no other relative will be able to file a lawsuit. These individuals may still be able to file a survival action if they are heirs to an estate.
How Are Wrongful Death Lawsuits Different Than a Criminal Case?
Wrongful death cases can result from accidental deaths, or from criminal acts such as manslaughter or homicide. In the latter case, law enforcement may issue criminal charges but the outcome of such a case provides little help for the surviving family.
While a criminal conviction may bring a sense of closure, it won't replace the loss of income a father made for his wife and children; it won't compensate for the mental anguish felt from the loss of a mother.
For these reasons, clients can pursue a civil action brought forth by a top rated wrongful death lawyer. In Texas wrongful death cases, the required proof of guilt is by a "preponderance of evidence", meaning that a person can be found guilty and liable for a death if the overwhelming weight of evidence suggest such. In other words, the defendant has the burden of proof to prove that they were not the cause of death.
What Does it Cost to Hire a Houston Wrongful Death Attorney?
You will pay our Houston wrongful death lawyers absolutely nothing unless we win your case. Our services are provided on a contingency fee contract so we cover all expenses involved with your case and you agree to pay us a percentage of you settlement of verdict amount.
How Much Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Worth?
Depending on the circumstances, wrongful death settlements can range from several hundred thousand dollars to tens of millions of dollars. Retaining a Houston wrongful death attorney who has experience dealing with insurance companies and corporations will help survivors receive the full extent of the compensation owed to them.
What Does a Wrongful Death Attorney Do?
A good Houston wrongful death lawyer will communicate with insurance companies, financial institutions, and corporations. These entities may not voluntarily work with non-lawyers and are more likely to respond to legal representatives and provide the needed facts promptly.
Good lawyers hire investigators and find expert witnesses. They do what it takes to get the facts straight and help families move ahead with a lawsuit seeking civil justice for the loss of a loved one.
Additionally, a Houston Wrongful Death Attorney Will:
- Determine who may be legally responsible for the fatality.
- Configure the economic losses and the impact on the family.
- Know where you can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Be experienced in negotiating with the defendant’s insurance companies to protect the economic future of the family.
- Be able to document each person’s relationship with the deceased.
What are the Evidence Requirements for a Wrongful Death Suit in Texas?
To bring a wrongful death suit forward in Texas, one must have significant evidence. Some crucial elements can help a person to prove the validity of their claim. For example, if the responsible party was responsible for the care of a loved one and did not take the proper precautions to care for them and that led to the death of a loved one.
In cases where criminal actions cause death, the intent will likely have to be proven or demonstrated. Criminal action cases require a thorough legal investigation, including extensive evidence, witness testimony expert opinions, to name a few. Cases that involve illegal activity require knowledge of the laws and how they pertain to the wrongful death case.
What are the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Texas?
Surviving family members must file their wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the decedent’s death in Texas. For this reason, it is always best for them to talk to a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Doing this will allow the lawyers time to investigate and file all the paperwork within the deadline.
If You Lost a Loved One Due to the Negligence of Another, You Need Professional and Compassionate Representation
If you believe your loved one's death was due to an avoidable accident, someone else's negligence, or a malicious act, contact the Stephens Law Firm today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options. If we determine that you have a wrongful death case under Texas law, you will meet with our Houston wrongful death attorneys to go over the details and begin preparing your lawsuit.
We've helped 100s of clients who have lost loved ones and we understand what you are going through. Whether your case goes to trial, or we reach an agreeable settlement out of court, we will help you get the answers, peace, and compensation you and your family deserve. Call Now!